Simon Columb on Spectre’s nods to the previous James Bond movies…
First and foremost, this article spoils Spectre in its entirety. Crucially, one of the main draws to the new film is the amount of references to the previous films in the James Bond series. Personally, as an enormous fan, I got a little worn out by the scene-by-scene nods and connections, that it became a little distracting. I have a funny feeling that many viewers found this one of the more entertaining elements. So, without judgement, here is my evidence sheet for the relentless links to the previous films showing that even the smallest element in Spectre often owes a debt to a previous adventure by the super suave spy.
Dr No – Christoph Waltz has clearly turned to the same tailor as the first villain, Dr No. An Asian attire (called a ‘Nehru’ jacket), even his sandals don’t look out of place with the unique suit worn.
From Russia With Love – As soon as we set foot on the humid train from Tangiers in Spectre, we feel the aura of From Russia With Love. As expected, the Mr Hinx/007 fight escalates dramatically as every carriage is decimated before our eyes, unlike Red Grant and Bond who simply ruin a single cabin. There’s also Klebb-like red-lipsticked woman at SPECTRE Conference 2015.
Goldfinger – When Bond and Madeline spot (in true Lawrence of Arabia style) a Rolls Royce appear over the horizon, 007 knows exactly what it is. Perhaps because it’s so similar to Mr Auric Goldfinger’s Rolls-Royce Phantom III. Secondly, an ejector seat is used in the Rome car-chase and, to top it off, Bond is strapped up as drills (rather than lasers) inch close to killing him. “No Mr Bond, I expect you to die!” would’ve been too on the nose, but it wasn’t far off.
Thunderball – The entire button-press and chair-death cliché appeared in Thunderball. Spectre reinvents this entire scene with an enormous crowded room, a short whisper and silent murder. It’s the same effect as the evil organisation comfortably accept the inevitable death at their annual meetings.
You Only Live Twice – The first reveal of Blofeld (played memorably by Donald Pleasence) became the iconic character. The grey suit may not be Christoph Waltz’s choice (though again, his minimalist style is purposefully similar) but a scar down the face dates right back to You Only Live Twice. Growing bigger and bolder since Dr No, the active volcano base of You Only Live Twice is the clear link made in Spectre as Blofeld manages operations from inside a crater.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – The first publicity shot of Spectre hinted at a skiing action sequence. Instead, we have the modern “health” building (Optional skiing club on the side) that has a comparative design to Blofeld’s base in OHMSS. Telly Savalas’ active interpretation, I’d argue, holds the same smug tone that Waltz is expert in delivering.
Diamonds Are Forever – Christoph Waltz could’ve been bald, but instead he kept a close cut in the manner Charles Grey chose for the face-changing Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever. Additionally, Mr Wint and Mr Kidd’s faux-civilised names link directly to Spectre’s henchman, Mr Hinx.
Live and Let Die – The entire opening of Spectre is a visual feast of Day of the Dead and Mexican tradition. Live and Let Die, set primarily in New Orleans and the Caribbean is steeped in voodoo thematic imagery. Baron Samedi even wears a skull face too. For all we know, he may have been present at the Day of the Dead celebrations in Spectre (because he didn’t die in Live and Let Die…)
The Man with the Golden Gun – Orson Welles’ The Lady from Shanghai provided inspiration for the fun house finale in TMWTGG, as Roger Moore shoots glass mirrors before taking out Christopher Lee’s Scaramanga. Spectre playfully turns the destroyed MI6 building into a funhouse as signals and flipping target-practices disorientate James Bond on his search for Madeline.
The Spy Who Loved Me – Madeline’s expert handling of weaponry and her personal loss (partly due to Bond) is similar to Barbara Bach’s Agent X. Agent X has lost her partner, seeks to kill the man responsible and falls for James. The Spy Who Loved Me also introduced Jaws, the enormous, silent henchman that Spectre’s Mr Hinx (Dave Bautista) must’ve modelled himself upon.
Click below to continue on for Moonraker through to Skyfall…